Has rock's youth movement hit the wall?
With the exception of winner Sinead O'Connor, the English band World Party and two rap entries, The Times' consensus best albums of 1990 are from artists whose combined discographies would be as thick as the Westside telephone directory. Even Sonic Youth, the most adventurous occupant of the Top 10, has a back catalogue of nine albums.
Last year, by contrast, six of the Top 10 were debuts (N.W.A., Neneh Cherry, Tone Loc, De La Soul) or second albums (Fine Young Cannibals, Peter Case). The only debuts this year are the two rap albums, by Ice Cube and Digital Underground.
The persistence of patriarchs like Neil Young (whose "Freedom" topped last year's poll), Van Morrison, Paul Simon and Lou Reed reflects not only their own continuing or renewed inspiration, but also less-than-overwhelming efforts by such usual critics' pets as Prince, the Replacements and Los Lobos--and the inactivity of such others as R.E.M. and U2.